Sunday, November 22, 2020

In this year of COVID: Indi Samarajiva, Part 3

 This is the piece that really got to me. Went right through me. 

I lived through a stupid coup. America is having one now. 


The third in his series on the American situation: He touches on the absurdity of coup, tries to explain what it is, how vulnerable US democracy is to it, remarks on the chaos associated with it.


"Two years ago, I lived through a coup in Sri Lanka. It was stupid. The minority party threw chili powder at everyone in Parliament and took over by farce. Math, however, requires a majority and the courts kicked them out. They gave in. We’d been protesting for weeks and yay, we won. No. I didn’t know it at the time, but we had already lost. No one knew — but oh my God, what we lost. The legitimate government came back but it was divided and weak. We were divided and weak. We were vulnerable."

"Four months later, on Easter Sunday, some assholes attacked multiple churches and hotels, killing 269 of us.... Our nation was shattered. Mobs began attacking innocent Muslims. It was out of control. The coup broke our government, and four months later, that broke us." 

"The coup was a farce at the time but how soon it turned to tragedy. They called it a constitutional crisis, but how soon it became a real one. Right now, the same thing is happening to you. I’m trying to warn you America. It seems stupid now, but the consequences are not."

"Someone at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, next to a dildo shop. What a fucking stupid century. This is what our coups look like."

"I have lived through a coup. It felt like what you’re feeling now. Like watching something stupid and just waiting for it to go away. But it doesn’t go away. You can forget about it, but it doesn’t go away."


"What is a coup? It’s literally a blow, a strike. Someone hitting your normal processes of government, trying to knock them over. The blow doesn’t have to succeed. It still wounds. In our case it was occupying Parliament without a majority. In yours it’s denying the President-Elect after an election. Whether it fails or not, deep structural damage is done. At the time, however, it just feels dumb."

"The US system is weird, but people voted for a change of power. One person is refusing to accept the people’s will. He’s taking power that doesn’t belong to him. That’s a coup."

"American commentators say “we’re like the third world now” as if our very existence is a pejorative. Ha ha, you assholes, stop calling us that. You’re no better than us. The third world from the Sun is Earth. You live here too."

"You’ve already lost. This is what Americans need to understand"


"America, in fact, is worse than us. America’s democracy is a lightly modified enslavement system that black people only wrested universal franchise from in 1965. It’s frankly a terrible democracy, built on voter suppression of 94% of the population, full of racist booby traps and prone to absurd randomness. For example, your dumbass founders left enough time to get to Washington by horse. Four months where a loser could hold power, later reduced to two. This is a built-in coup."

"Think about it. Your system gives the loser all the power and guns for two whole months. Almost every modern democracy changes power the next day, to avoid the very situation you’re in."

"America is a shitty and immature democracy, saved only by the fact that they didn’t elect equally shitty and immature Presidents. Until now."

"This year America had fascism on the ballot and nonwhite people mercifully said no. The fascists, however, are now saying fuck ballots. And enough of the population is like fuck yeah!"

"This is a major problem, and it won’t just go away on a technicality. I’m telling you, as someone that’s been there, you’ve already lost. It doesn’t matter if you get Trump out. He and the Republican Party are destroying trust in elections in general. This is catastrophic. You have no idea."


"The tragic thing which you do not understand — which you cannot understand — is that you’ve already lost. You cannot know exactly what — that’s the nature of chaos — but know this. You will lose more than you can bear."

"Republicans have set forces into play they cannot possibly understand and certainly cannot control. And they don’t even want to. To them, chaos is a ladder."

"This is the point. You have taken an orderly system balancing a whole lot of chaos and fucked with it. I don’t know how it’s going to explode, but I can promise you this. It’s going to explode."

"This is precisely why we have elections, and why both sides accept the results. To keep the chaos at bay. The whole point is that you have a regular, ritual fight rather than fighting all the time. Once one side breaks ritual then you’re on the way to civil war. Once you break the rules then chaos ensues. What exactly happens? I don’t know. It’s chaos."

"My wife and children were at church that day. Our regular church (where they hadn’t gone) had bombs on either side. I couldn’t understand the news when I first got it and you cannot understand the fear until they were safely home. I do not want you to understand but I fear one day you must. You have fucked with chaos and soon chaos will fuck with you." ...............

In this year of COVID: Indi Samarajiva, Part 2


Here are excerpts from his second piece, written in Oct. in this, our year of COVID. 

It touches on comparisons between his own country and the US, the "human shields" both countries are exploiting/exploited, the death of innocents by pestilence, inequity, his solidarity with them, how far out of balance the Senate is in the US, and some perspective on collapse from a very very old culture.

PART 2. 

The sadness of the American collapse


"I think then, of the American people, carried headlong into COVID by their mad choleric king. Trump has infected his family, his staff, his own supporters, and the entire nation. Trump has completely inverted the idea of Commander-in-Chief. Under Trump America has (for once) attacked itself."



"America’s democracy is younger than Sri Lanka’s and the foundation completely decrepit. At its founding, only 6% of the population (white land-owners) had the vote. Those rancid, racist ghosts haunt your democracy still."




"So I think, then, of the people held helplessly around the shuddering hulk of a superspreading White House. Not even a human shield, just pointless human sacrifice. As much as I do want the turgid, terrorizing empire to collapse, it is surrounded by innocent human beings. People out-organized, outgunned, and hearing ‘I told you so’ from foreign correspondents like me. So what am I saying? Am I in solidarity with them, against their tyrannical government, or against them all? In solidarity, in solidarity. I don’t want to pull any punches and I don’t know how everything comes out, but in my heart that’s how I feel. I’m with you."



"American democracy is deeply, structurally unsound. 39.5 million people have the same number of Senators as 600,000 people in Wyoming, and those people in Wyoming are disproportionately awful. And this Senate confirms judges, effectively another branch of eternal politicians. And who fucks up their own Post Office to sabotage a vote? What is this really? It’s more like a strategy game than a democracy. Y’all getting played. How are you people, living in the warped carcass of a property-owners’ paradise, in control of anything? America is just a stock market with human beings attached. And the human beings are expendable."





"It is a sad thing, collapse. Sad but necessary. The Hindu trinity has a creator, a preserver, and a destroyer. This ancient culture has a deeper understanding of the cyclical nature of things, rather than the new American myth of eternal growth (ie, cancer). But when you’re on the business end of Shiva’s trident, who cares? Must things fall on the people that least deserve it? Must collapse fall on your grandparents, your poor, on you? I hope not. I wish not. But what is history? Just the forgotten ruins of humble villages and the vaunted carelessness of ‘great’ men. All the Earth is a palimpsest. What’s written is written in blood."

In this year of COVID: Indi Samarajiva, Part 1

 I love this writer. Indi Samarajiva is

I want to post excerpts from three recent articles by him that I found in Medium dot com. to do with American politics and the recent election.  Part 1, his observations on the human numbness, lack of empathy, anonymity, uneven experience, and obliviousness associated with societal collapse that occurred in his own country and what he sees happening in the US.

1. From September in this year of COVID, 2020: 

I lived through collapse. America is already there. 


"Living in Sri Lanka during the end of the civil war, I saw how life goes on, surrounded by death"

" I lived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens. This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down."


"Collapse does not mean you’re personally dying right now. It means y’all are dying right now. Death is sometimes close, sometimes far away, but always there. I used to judge those herds of gazelle when the lion eats one of them alive and everyone keeps going — but no, humans are just the same. That’s the real meaning of herd immunity. We’re fundamentally immune to giving a shit."

"Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is."



"If you’re waiting for a moment where you’re like “this is it,” I’m telling you, it never comes. Nobody comes on TV and says “things are officially bad.” There’s no launch party for decay.... Perhaps you’re waiting for some moment when the adrenaline kicks in and you’re fighting the virus or fascism all the time, but it’s not like that. Life is not a movie, and if it were, you’re certainly not the star. You’re just an extra. If something good or bad happens to you it’ll be random and no one will care. If you’re unlucky you’re a statistic. If you’re lucky, no one notices you at all."



"I was at work when someone left a bomb at the NOLIMIT clothing store. It exploded, killing 17 people. When these types of traumatic events take place, no two people experience the same thing. For me, it was seeing the phone lines getting clogged for an hour. For my wife, it was feeling the explosion a half-kilometer from her house. But for the families of the 17 victims, this was the end. And their grief goes on. As you can see, this is not a uniform experience of chaos. For some people it destroys their bodies, others their hearts, but for most people it’s just a low-level hum at the back of their minds."



"As a nation you don’t seem to mourn your dead, but their families do. Their communities do. Jesus, also, weeps. But for most people it’s just another day. You’ve run out of coffee. There’s a funny meme. This can’t be collapse, because nothing’s collapsing for me. But that’s exactly how collapse feels. This is how I felt. This is how millions of people have felt, including many immigrants in your midst. We’re trying to tell you as loud as we can. You can get out of it, but you have to understand where you are to even turn around. This, I fear, is one of many things Americans do not understand. You tell yourself American collapse is impossible. Meanwhile, look around. In the last three months America has lost more people than Sri Lanka lost in 30 years of civil war. If this isn’t collapse, then the word has no meaning."


Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Boundaries in the age of COVID: US elections

So, it is Nov 4/, 2020, the day after polls closed in the US for the presidential election, results still not quite in. Everyone I know there busy stressing out over it and still trying to avoid COVID. As individuals, because there was no national plan enacted the way there was in Canada and just about everywhere else in the entire world.

Being newly retired I have had time to fixate on the American neighbour, delve into many deep ponderings about what it means to be a Canadian only an hour's drive north of the US-Canada border (which remains closed) just over North Dakota. 

The US appears, at least superficially, to be sort of a banana republic. It has held together for a couple centuries, amazingly. It became a huge country of 330 million people, with the baling twine and chewing gum of gracious conduct lubricated by tons of money, but I suspect global warming is worrying the global financial powers that be into acting autocratically.
I seriously can't believe trumple is a lone actor - pretty sure he's a puppet for a global moneyed oligarchy. One advantage he may have is that there seems to be a custom in the US of keeping a president in power for a full two terms, 8 years, and he's only at the 4-year mark so he has only managed to half wreck the country and has only murdered about 240 thousand people so far by not implementing a decent COVID prevention plan - his destructive work is only half done. 

About the US, I remember being aghast that individual voting was such a huge affair and so complicated, elections so expensive and long-winded, that the ballots could go on for pages and pages, that voters had to fight to actually be registered and to vote.
How cumbersome, I thought.
Then I grew to appreciate that it really was an amazing innovation in the 18th century to distribute power so equitably to (at first) all white men who owned property, then later to everybody. And I appreciated that massive struggle had been involved in expansion of voting rights. Especially when I found out that black women had been held back from voting until 1965. 
Nineteen sixty-five!!

ismay slowly arose though as it dawned on me that there is nothing particularly equitable about a system that is actually not a single large ship of state but rather a flotilla of 50 ships of state all tied together, some in pretty good shape and others very rusted, leaky, still on top of the water only because of movement inertia and other ships pulling them, but acting as a drag to the entire ensemble. All of them are slowed down by the barnacles of time. 
Furthermore, some ships try to pull the entire shebang one way and others in a different direction. 
In fact, the two major parties remind me of the way two eagles grasp talons and participate in a twirling death spiral

Which brings us to the "electoral vote." 
Imagine this: we have the 50 ships of varying sizes and conditions all tied together all pulling different directions all weighed down by barnacle infestation.  Imagine all the people on each ship voting for a new leader, say, a different president. All the votes are counted, but... only the ship gets to have an actual presidential vote. The ship! Some ships more than one, some ships many; it depends on the size of the ship. So, no matter how big the population aboard, if it's a small ship, individual votes may count more heavily than if the ship is an ocean liner like California. 
This system of states' votes stems from the days of slavery when only white male property owners could vote. A "college" of "learned men." Why it still exists is beyond me. 


I grew to appreciate even more the role played by current-day media as a way all the people on board all the ships can maintain some semblance of feeling connected to each other and updated about how each others' lives are going, and how we all eavesdrop on it no matter where we non-Americans live. Yeah, it's noisy and often feels intrusive (cultural imperialism) but it does help time go by. 

States' rights in the US are a real detriment at times. The power assigned to voting individuals is completely at the mercy of whatever ship said individuals happen to be riding on. War was fought over perceived state inequities. Plus, all that ghastly slavery crap that happened from 1619 onward, and that supposedly ended with the Civil War, cultivated mental and social ruts into the fabric of the US so deeply that some aspects have not yet ceased to exist (police murders of George Floyd et al) and voting rights are still being suppressed by some of the old rust bucket state ships in the flotilla. 

Heather Cox Richardson provides context and lots of optimism. In fact I'm pretty sure the fumes of optimism are enticing enough to have been the main way the US has survived thus far given all the handicaps its citizens endure for their privilege of collectively holding ultimate power every 4 or 6 years, 4 for presidential elections and 6 for senate seats (I think). Given the fact that said individuals have been taught to eschew the very thought of being part of a "collective" of anything. 

The main problem I see with individuals holding power is that no one individual has the power to fire a terrible leader. It has to be done collectively, but to get people to act collectively they have to be convinced to maintain a completely incongruent set of ideas about how acting collectively will support their freedom as individuals somehow. Furthermore, if the terrible leader manages to be the best convincer, the resulting set of incongruent ideas becomes a cult. His followers appear to be oblivious to cognitive dissonance.  

I learned a new word recently - paralipsis. It's a rhetorical device that lets your audience know what's on your mind without having to say so directly. It permits lying, because you can always deny you actually said it. It boils down to speaking with forked tongue or out both sides of your mouth. The current terrible leader is a master of it. Which means he obfuscates and escapes like an octopus from any tiny hole. His story depends entirely on his audience, and what he wants to get from them. 
Critical thinkers find him appalling and mendacious and thoroughly misleading. His followers think he's brilliant and will fix their leaky rust-bucket ship of state. He won't. 

We still don't know who won the election, because there were so many mail-in ballots due to COVID still being counted. 


Sunday, September 06, 2020

Boundaries in the age of COVID, Sept 2020

I made a decision today, one that ripped the front of my chest off yet again: I decided to retire from teaching except within Canada's boundary. 
I methodically contacted all the workshop organizers in Europe to let them know I would not be coming in 2021. 
I intend to keep the commitment to fulfill workshops that have been scheduled here in Canada. 
For one more year at least. Here's the list

Gad this one hurt... 

My mind flew back to the early 70's, when my good friend Gayle and I made plans to travel in Europe together. We were going to meet up in Greece. It never happened because I never went. I had saved up the princely sum of about a thousand dollars, which back in the day went a looooooong way; instead of spending it traveling, I decided to go back to university instead. 

I had three workshops lined up in the spring, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta. 
A couple in the fall, Italy and Austria. 

Some part of my brain, maybe the part that still thinks I'm in my twenties, must have thought it would be a good idea to plan to go next year, I guess; workshops had all been canceled for 2020 due to travel restrictions that COVID imposed, and 2021 seemed so far away. Now in September, it doesn't seem far away at all. 

So the more realistic part of my brain that keeps up with reality and doesn't let itself be caught up in fantasy or yearnings or time warp looked at the situation cooly:

1. the fact that travel is even more cumbersome than it was last year, what with COVID precautions

2. the fact that travel is BOUND to be more expensive, therefore the workshops were possibly more likely to be canceled anyway, by the hosts, who have to at least cover costs

3. the fact that I'm not (definitely NOT) getting younger, and after sitting around for the past 6 months, feeling quite a lot rustier

4. the fact that moving my mother (age 96) to assisted living this past month turned out to be a lot more work, not less. More running around, not less. More conveying of mail, trips to the bank, trips to the lawyer, all sorts of bureaucratic bits and bobs, not to mention emptying of a very jam-packed condo all throughout the past three weeks and allocation of items under the strict eye of my younger sister who was very organized and vigorous and has very much a zero-landfill disposition these days.
(She had me save glass jars for her, FFS. Fking glass jars.) 
(I said I would. They are still sitting in my car.)
I'm exhausted. Physically and emotionally. 

So, with all that going on, the reality part of my brain kicked me out of my stupor, out of that sense of unreality that all the societal changes that COVID have wrought upon the world and everyone in it. 
It said to me, Diane, are you fking kidding yourself? You really think you are up for yet more flying around Europe sleep-deprived, fueled by adrenalin, coffee, and whatever is the local beer? And standing up teaching for four days straight? And trying to keep up with youngsters eager to show you the local tourist sites on top of all that? You know how much your feet hurt in the past and how long it took to recover from sleeping sitting up on planes and how many days it took for the swelling in your ankles to go away after you got home, and how it was a lot harder to recover if you were doing more than just one workshop per trip, and how you had three (count'em, 3!!!) booked all in a row, you crazy woman, and how your Eurocentric side thought for a hot second that it wouldn't be able to exist or forgive itself if it passed up an opportunity to see Greece finally, not to mention Malta and Cyprus... Get real Diane. You will be 70 years old and that's too old for any more shit like this. Are you trying to kill us off early or something? Get.

So, I did. 
I obeyed the voice within that told me to let go of yet more of my professional existence. 
It sort of feels like I imagine it must feel after having divorced to decide what to do about the kids. All the lingering bits of an old life that must be carried forward into a new existence until they are grown and can fend for themselves. 
Even though it's the rational thing to do, retire from teaching overseas, it still feels like the front of my chest has been removed.
Without anesthetic.
It must be that twenty-something part of me who still lingers somewhere in me, making me feel that. 
I'm learning that who one is is mostly an accumulation of selves you have been and that constant decluttering is not just about physical existence, it's also about psychosocial existence. 

I still need that part 20-something part of myself. She is the more energetic part of me, still full of possibilities. I don't want to kill her off, but we will have to reorganize our relationship somehow, because the I that I am now is here, now, and I really do not like feeling all raw on the front of my body, and she will have to learn to respect me as her future self, getting riper all the time. 

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Yannick's take on DNM: July 2020

Yannick Wenger is a physiotherapist working and teaching at a physio school in France, who I had the pleasure of meeting in Montreal last spring. He came all the way to Canada to attend a DNM workshop. His wife, also a physio, attended a DNM workshop I taught in Paris about a month prior. They couldn't attend at the same time because of small children. 

Yannick and I stayed at the same AirB&B in Montreal and had many opportunities to talk (his English is way better than my paltry French). He told me about U theory, a form of teaching and learning he is fond of, and social constructivism, a form of pedagogy that dates all the way back to just after the French revolution more than 200 years ago. 

He started a new group on Facebook, DNM France by freephYsio, in which he states he is willing to entertain all questions. 

"The DNM a conceptual framework for a new manual therapy prototyped by Diane Jacobs. This page aims to make you discover the DermoNeuroModulation. Yannick Wenger offers you possible developments to understand your manual therapy differently. Here you will find a humanist view of the therapeutic relationship combining neurosciences, philosophy, anthropology and praxis. Feel free to question, comment, argue: you are on a socio-constructivist page.
If you want to organize training in DNM, Yannick Wenger, an expert trainer certified by the CNAM, is at your disposal. Contact:"

He recently posted a series of essays on Facebook that are lovely, and I want to preserve here on my blog; He started posting them shortly after sharing this link: What is the operator model? What is the interactor model? , a piece I wrote in 2011 that sets out my own deconstructive process.  

After introducing DNM as a fresh approach Yannick starts his U process of deconstructiing manual therapy with its biggest confound, skin. He takes us on a lovely relaxing metaphoric train ride, a good situation to think and read and write. We can follow his own process of changing his way of thinking about manual therapy. By the end of the train ride, he has connected all the dots, has changed his thinking sufficiently to see the point of adopting a more neurocentric, interactive view. 

(Note: I recommend using DeepL Translator if you want to turn his lovely French into good English. It's better than the default translation Facebook provides. You can use it online without having to download it.)

July 2  DNM: Naturalism and phenomenology

July 4  DNM: Are you an operator or an interactor?

July 5  Touch

July 6  Bottom-up and top-down together

July 9  Skin

July 10  Carl Rogers

July 12 DNM and U theory

July 13 DNM and U theory

July 14  DNM and U theory

July 15  Seeing anew

July 16  Collecting 

July 19  Perceiving

July 20  Listening and presence

July 21  Adopting a neurocentric model

July 23  At the bottom of the U, moving across, adopting a neurocentric model

July 25  Moving into the ascension of the U

July 28  Still ascending the U

July 30  Still ascending to the top

July 31  Exiting the U

Monday, July 27, 2020

July 27 of the year of COVID: John Lewis, honor guards, the power of precision.

Today's US death total: 150,233. (Link)

I watched all of the memorial service for John Lewis today. I watched him be carried over the Edmund Pettus bridge on the weekend. I have been a white female Canadian retired physio feeling a bit like a voyeur, attending services for black men in the US whether murdered by police or dying of cancer as John Lewis did. 

I have been moved to tears.


Tears started falling out of my face when the honor guard moved his casket from the church to the wagon, the caisson they call it, that would carry him across the bridge strewn with rose petals, red rose petals, to symbolize the blood that was shed on that same bridge 55 years earlier, Bloody Sunday 1965, when fascist piggdoggs of the day cracked his skull open during a peaceful march for civil rights. 


The honor guard moved as one. Eight burly men. All dressed impecably. In military clothing. All of them wearing masks. Their steps taken very carefully. Very measured. Taking 4 steps to turn a 90 degree angle. Very precise. Listening to and obeying orders.  Standing at attention, very still, between each set of steps. 

As I watched this, I felt grief burn a hole through me. It was partly for John Lewis, it was partly from the pageantry itself, the respect it was all intended to convey. 

Weirdly, there was also grief for the life I have had to leave behind.  


I was reminded of the power there is in touch, a life spent touching people with a license to do so, therapeutically. Of having learned how to touch effectively. With precision. Obeying something that gave me the orders. Being very still before and after each small move. How touch, when done that way, conveys respect. How it may touch someone else's nervous system in such a way that they feel redeemed. Respected. Accepted into the world again. 

What is that something that gives the orders?
It can't be defined. It's interoceptive. It has no voice. It's a sensation coupled with some cognitive appreciation. It's the third space. It's the intersubjectivity between two nervous systems, communicating kinesthetically. 

For decades after I had learned to recognize it, it sounded like a loud voice to me, a drill sergeant barking out the steps of a very practiced drill.

I often compare good manual therapy to jazz and state emphatically that it's not classical music. I get that comparing manual therapy to a casket-carrying drill by military people seems a bit the opposite of jazz, however please bear with me:
Good jazz musicians are precise. They have already played classical music, most of them, and moved on.
They take pauses.
They pay rapt attention for hours,  listening to each other.
They listen for soundless space between notes. The silence. They hear beats that no one else can.
And they move together, perfectly.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Canada Day 2020

A lot has happened since I last felt moved to write anything here.
Well, I should mention that I started two blogposts, but didn't finish them.
Life events outside my little bubble were far too riveting.

So, let's see:

1. COVID is burning a big hole south of the Canadian border. At the moment, more than 130,000 people in the US have died of it. Two other countries seeing a lot of runaway numbers are Russia and Brazil.
2. Canada seems to have planked the infection and death curve successfully, as have Asian countries and European Union countries. So much so that Canadians will be allowed to travel to Europe but not US citizens.
3. I will not be traveling anywhere anytime soon, even within Canada. I have three risk factors for COVID: old, too chubby, and type A- blood. I wear a mask to the grocery store. When I take my 96-year-old mother to her various appointments, I wear a mask and have the car windows rolled down.

1. It's a presidential election year. A lot of trumpy shit has accumulated both pre-impeachment and post-impeachment.
2. He won't wear a mask in public. A lot of his die-hard devoted followers who talk freedom but adhere to all his dog whistles won't wear them either.
3. Biden is leading in all the polls.
4. I have discovered and have been avidly following Heather Cox Richardson, a historian who shines light several times a week on current events and ties the past to the present.

1.  George Floyd, a Black man innocent of anything, was apprehended and killed by a policeman kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, in Minnesota. In the street. With no due process. And filmed by bystanders. This set the whole world on its heels and protests have been non-stop ever since, everywhere.
2. Confederate statues have been toppled in the US.
3. Statues of slave traders have been tossed into the harbour in England.
4. Companies have taken racist images off their brands.
5. Sports organizations have announced that flying of Confederate flags will no longer be allowed.
6. The flag itself has been removed from state buildings in the south. Finally.

The past few months have been a firehose of indepth learning and unlearning experience.

To celebrate Canada Day, today I listened to this fabulous 2-part podcast from over a year ago about the history of slavery in Canada. Awesome unveiling.

Canada's slavery secret: The whitewashing of 200 years of enslavement

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Boundaries in the age of COVID: Part 9

I found this piece intriguing, weirdly comforting. So well-written. An artist plunged himself into total darkness for a month, allowing his mind to neuroplasticize around lack of visual input and light stimulus, dump out all the junk that had accumulated. In these COVID times, I have been feeling somewhat discombobulated without any access to normal sensory input through the eyeballs at the ends of my fingers and hands, without familiar smooth grooving through normal mind channels. Anyone else out there feeling deprived of tactile sensory input these days? Tied inextricably to self-expression, livelihood, self-worth?
I must confess to experiencing a bit of grief about having fully retired my practice (although, as I keep reminding myself, it was high time). In some ways, the sensory deprivation described in this article reminds me that I liked, really really liked what I did for a living. Human primate social grooming.
Certainly, coming to terms with a new existence is now required.

It feels like a gut cramp sometimes. Part of my brain is dismayed that I actually burned a bridge. It thinks I self-amputated something, like both hands maybe. Brought home my stuff from work. Now sitting in giant plastic plaid bags all around my living room. Every time that part of my brain notices those bags sitting there it screams, Traitor!!

That would be the part of the brain that spent the last 50 years of existence, especially the last 35, touching people for a living. The part I'm moving toward and want to fully occupy one of these days is the part that knows all about that but needs to learn how to get along in life without it. This is the no man's land I am currently crossing. I keep reminding both these brain parts that we're all old now. We had all been thinking about this for a long time. And I'm sorry that COVID times have precipitated the event a bit earlier than we had planned and all agreed to. But I'm just not up for continuing our familiar existence of running a practice for just another few months when it would have to change so radically into something different, with screen consults and bank e-transfer or in-person with credit card tap technology and shields and PPE and no touching. You wouldn't like that very much either, would you, brain?
C'mon brain, we can do this. Together we can neuroplasticize, find any creativity that may exist within all this new sensory deprivation.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Boundaries in the age of Covid - Part 8

The biggest boundary of all I feel right now is the one that still exists between my old self and my newly retired self.

It's like I'm moving carefully through a bleak no-man's-land between two opposing armies at the moment, full of craters from explosions going off, still riddled with land mines, nothing to see but burnt and broken trees, no end in sight, mud and blood, lots of mud and blood.
And corpses: although I've not seen any of those yet, I expect I might yet, and all I can do is keep going and hope I don't become one of them.

OK, it's not nearly that bad, objectively speaking. I'm only trying to describe how it feels.

Moving out
This is the week that our provincial government said it was time to try to open up.
I've been getting emails from my professional association and college with new advice on how to conduct a private practice in phase one.
Basically, it boils down to, don't touch people unless you really have to, wear gloves and mask, leave lots of time between patients so you can clean and disinfect between them, only one person at a time in the reception area, have a shield up, no cash, only credit card tapping.
That's phase 1.
Phase two in another two weeks, people can start doing acupuncture again if they wish.

Anyway, I finally had enough energy plus motivation this week to go in and pack up my stuff, move it out. Anything that fits into my rather small quite old Saturn three-door, that is.
I felt spurred on by flashes of guilt feelings over the fact I'm not paying rent there anymore. Even though the clinic owner has not returned to work, I felt guilty leaving my stuff in there, occupying the room I enjoyed for the past three, almost four years.

Two carloads.
Very stuffed carloads.
It was tiring. I haven't done any physical exertion much at all in three months.
I felt old.
And tired.

I use a bunch of sturdy plaid plastic bags I bought in Vancouver at the dollar store, the kind you see everyone in third-world countries using to move their things around, strapped to bicycles or donkeys or whatever.

They come with a zipper that breaks after a single use usually. The bags tend to split easily too.
Oh well.
They weigh nothing and fold flat.
They're great.
Mine have hung in there with and without zippers and with taped-over splits through a complete house move, three office moves, and now this final move into retirement. I have brought home all my files, office stuff, laundry, pillows, bolster, cooling fan, equipment, small things like tape supplies, etc. Bulky things like body wedges. Heavy things like charts and file folders.
All kinds of things that multiply in drawers.

There are still a few things I have to go back for - a floor lamp I really like, and a bunch of large rectangular things - a mirror, artwork, framed and unframed, a whiteboard.
One more trip at least. If the lamp doesn't fit into my car, I'll walk it home.
Weyburn is small.
I'm only about a kilometer away.
What's left will be the treatment table, a large three-drawer file cabinet, and a wardrobe sort of thing that held my clean laundry, one side shelves and the other side drawers, with a sliding door.
I'm hoping Susan will take the treatment table. It's a nice one. It has a heater in it and everything.
I don't know if she will want the file cabinet. Probably not. She does everything in the cloud.
It can go to the secondhand store. Maybe they'll give me a bit of money for it. Depends when they open up again, and when Susan will need the room.
I want to keep the wardrobe myself.
No idea how to get it home.

My current fantasy
Susan keeps the treatment table.
I keep up my license, inactive status. I think I can still treat the odd patient with an inactive status. I become a consultant that Susan can call in if she gets a tough case she can't handle.
I do not maintain a practice. These will be her patients, treated by me but no responsibility, and she pays me a percentage of their fee.
It's just a fantasy - we have yet to talk, really, about anything to do with our work relationship.
It's just a thing that crosses my mind as I cross that no man's land that helps me keep going.
With all these old high thread-count sheets and pillowcases, I have a lot of material I could use to make face masks.
If I had any energy to make any.
Lots more crossing to do first.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Boundaries in the age of COVID: Part 7

Last night I had the following dream:

I attended a woman for treatment, for some upper back pain. She had short brown hair, long enough to cover her ears though, and brown eyes, no glasses, round face, wore a white lab coat of all things.

She was a chiropractor and wanted to crack my back. I told her in no uncertain terms to do no such thing.
She was not happy, because she didn't feel she would be paid unless she did that. I told her I'd pay her NOT to crack my back.
She still wasn't happy. I guess she really wanted to make noise so her own personal relationship with herself would feel fulfilled or something.
Anyway, my back, my boundary. 

In the same office in my dream was an optometrist. I had purchased eyeglass frames there, and they had come apart, and I wanted either repair or a new pair the same. During the span of the dream, this was never resolved. 

I really liked the frames, you see. 
They were white with cutouts in a sort of teardrop pattern. Super gross obviously, but in the dream, very trendy. I know I was anxious to have them on my face again. 
My dream brain keeps me amused. 

I think the teardrop business may have had to do with how many of those I produced while watching the virtual vigil for Nova Scotia yesterday.
But I digress. 


New topic.
This morning I had a facetime call from an Irish physio I met in 2012 when I taught a workshop in the UK, who has a certificate in chronic pain management, who lives in Norway, and has ties to Cognitive Functional Therapy (Peter O'Sullivan) through Norwegian colleagues who are also professors in physio schools there. 
She wanted me to know that the class had meant a lot to her, had taught her it was fine to be interactive and not operative, that she had started a whole education project/network of physios who work from home, showed me her new "office" which was her bedroom with bed removed, some space for her to demo exercise, a plant in the corner for visual pleasantness, how she showed people how to self-treat based on my techniques, how she still had my manual from 8 years ago propped up on a shelf.
She wanted to talk about how she had moved to video consults with her patients in their own homes. How interesting it was to see their environments without having to be physically there, how much easier it was for stroke patients and spinal cord injured patients and their caregivers to not have to physically bring themselves to a clinic.
She sounded worried that I was going to retire my little hands-on practice, said she thought it would be great if I decided to maintain an online practice instead, where anyone in the world could consult with me if they wanted to.
I told her I would have to think about that.
I'm ecstatic however that at least one physio in the world that I've personally taught got it, really got it, and is running with it. What did she get? She got that she is competent with or without her hands, to assess and interview and treat. That novel sensory input can be delivered verbally. And that if people really need some hands-on, she can nimbly come up with a creative plan that involves them doing something to their own skin organ at home.
If she gets her network built she may actually be a mover and shaker for helping the profession evolve itself away from stupid stuff toward being much much better, toward being the interactive profession it originally intended to be, and away from the stupid operative profession it morphed itself into over the decades I practiced, much to my continual dismay.

New topic.
I'm still reeling around in a fog, not really up for charting a new course through choppy water.
For being extroverted, out in the world.
In fact this whole stay at home business could not have come at a more opportune time for me, personally.
Whenever I get like this, I have to just wait until motivation comes back on its own. I've never ever figured out how to entice motivation to be there when it's simply not. Just washing out a coffee cup is a big effort.
I know getting a haircut would help, but that can't happen for a few more weeks at least.
I'm OK financially, I'm existentially safe, I'm actually not feeling depressed for a change, so at least I have that much going for me. I count these blessings every day.
My own boundaries are rearranging themselves. It must be like how insects feel when they pupate. Or like how embryos feel when they are at the mercy of forces pulling them this way and that into physical existence. In the past, I've likened the process to molting like a bird or a dog, or shedding skin like a reptile. But this time, it feels like it's a lot deeper, and a huge sap of energy.